Next week my plans were to sit on a beach in Fiji, drink rum cocktails, and read fantasy novels.

Needless to say, one of the victims of the pandemic was my tropical vacation.

The State Department advised United States citizens on Thursday to avoid all international travel due to the outbreak of coronavirus around the globe, urging Americans abroad to arrange for an “immediate return” to the U.S. unless they plan to stay out of the country for “an indefinite period.”

Fox News reported early Thursday that the State Department would raise its global travel advisory to a Level 4, “Do Not Travel,” which is the most severe warning on State’s advisory scale. The department made it official later in the afternoon.

“The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19,” the State Department said in a statement. “In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom has issued a statewide stay-at-home order to mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

It looks like I am getting a stay-cation instead.

California Governor Gavin Newsom has issued a statewide stay-at-home order to mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Californians must do what is necessary to meet this moment and help bend the curve,” Newsom said during a late afternoon briefing.

At least drinking rum cocktails and reading fantasy novels are still allowed!

Spike in US coronavirus cases as the number of tests performed increases

As I predicted, once the high throughput testing for the Wuhan Coronavirus was put in place, we would see a “spike” in diagnosed cases….which would merely be a function of completing work on the backlog and being able to process the first new ones quickly.

The number of novel coronavirus cases in the U.S. has seen a 534 percent spike in just a week’s time as the amount of COVID-19 testing kits become more widely available across the country. According to Johns Hopkins University data, the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. hit over 10,000 cases on Thursday, compared to the 1,694 illnesses recorded by March 12.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced further steps to expand testing capacity, which officials have warned will result in more positive cases in the coming days.

In a new bid to slow the spread of coronavirus, Los Angeles County officials on Thursday announced a new order that requires all indoor malls, shopping centers, playgrounds and non-essential retail businesses to close and prohibits gathering in enclosed spaces of more than 10 people.

“We know this will have an impact on the social fabric of our communities. We still encourage individuals to stay connected to their community and their loved ones in creative ways, and to spend much-needed time outdoors,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger said in a statement. “We won’t have to maintain these restrictions forever, and they will have an invaluable long-term impact.”

Florida is Shutting Down For Spring Break

Meanwhile, on the East Coast, Spring Break is officially over.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) announced that he’s putting an end to spring break revelry in his state with the coronavirus pandemic growing in the country.

In an interview on Thursday with Fox & Friends, DeSantis was asked if state beaches will be closing in light of vacationers who are adamant about going out and partying in public despite the crisis.

“The message I think for spring breakers is the party is over in Florida,” DeSantis said. “You’re not going to be able to congregate on any beach in the state. Many of the hot spots that people like to go to, whether it’s Miami beach, Fort Lauderdale and Clearwater Beach are closed entirely for the time being…We would tell those folks maybe come back next year when things are better, but that is not what we’re looking for.”

Italy surpasses China in number of coronavirus deaths

Only a few short weeks ago, Italians were being encouraged to hug Chinese visitors. Now, the number killed by COVID-19 has exceeded that of China.

The number of deaths in Italy reached 3,405 on Thursday, the Italian Civil Protection Agency said at a news conference — 156 more than China’s toll, which, according to Johns Hopkins University, stands at 3,249.

The total number of cases in Italy rose to 41,035 with 5,322 new cases, officials added.

The grim figure comes hours after China marked a major milestone in the battle to limit the spread, reporting no new locally transmitted coronavirus cases for the first time since the pandemic began.

A study of the fatalities showed that more than 99% of Italy’s victims were people who suffered from a previous medical condition.

A drug produced in Poland helps treat coronavirus

It’s a good thing President Donald Trump has enhanced our relationship with Poland, as we will soon be needing to diversify our supply chain.

The drug, Arachin, contains chloroquine, the drug featured by Trump during his most press briefing.

The Polish council responsible for recommending drugs for treatment of specific illnesses approved Arachin on March 13 for use on coronavirus patients nationwide. The drug is produced by Adamed Pharma.

The drug contains chloroquine (chloroquini phosphas), originally prescribed for treating malaria and rheumatic fever, which testing has shown is also useful for treating the coronavirus family of viruses.

The Polish health authorities said they made their decision to approve the drug based on clinical evidence.

Coronavirus dunks a number of NBA players

COVID-19 is impacting athletes, and it appears the NBA is the hardest hit.

The most recent batch of positive tests came on Thursday from the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers and Denver Nuggets. The Lakers reportedly had two players test positive for COVID-19, while the 76ers confirmed that three members of the organization have the coronavirus, with all other test results coming back negative. The Nuggets announced one positive test result from their organization, bringing the NBA total to 13 individuals from six different teams.

On Tuesday, we learned of four players who have tested positive for the illness — all members of the Brooklyn Nets, including former MVP Kevin Durant. The star forward has not played this season due to a torn Achilles tendon, and was already not planning to return even if things get pushed back late into the summer.


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